Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'Idol' bits: South rules again, big 'Idol' lawsuit, Justin Guarini/Kelly Clarkson, missing auditioners

"American Idol" has been dominated by the South for its 13-year entire run. Nine of 12 winners are from the South (if you count Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma as the South per se but even without them, it's still 6 out of 12 from the Southeast). A much higher-than-normal number of singers among the finalists are this part of the country.

This year is no different. Of the top 13, which I will rank next week in order of likely elimination, has nine people from the Southeast.

That's even better than average. None are from Georgia but three live in Alabama (Jessica Meuse, Dexter Roberts, C.J. Harris), three are from Florida (Kristen O'Connor, Sam Woolf, Emily Piriz), two from North Carolina (Caleb Johnson, Majesty Rose) and one from Tennessee (Ben Briley). Georgia had two in the final 20 (Emmanuel Zidor and Bria Anai Johnson) but neither made the cut.

As usual, the Northeast, the  most barren home for talent over the years, has only Alex Preston from New Hampshire. (The Northeast has generated zero winners to date.) Two are from Michigan - Malaya Watson and Jena Irene Ascuitto (who has dropped her last name for some reason). Although there were auditions held in Salt Lake City and California, the West Coast is represented only by MK Nobilette. (The West has created just one winner in Jordin Sparks.)

Amazingly, auditions were held in Omaha, Neb. and Austin, Texas and we ended up with zero finalists from the Midwest. (The Midwest has generated two winners in David Cook and Lee DeWyze.)

Of those non-Southerners, I can't realistically see MK, Malaya or Alex  reaching the summit. Jena has probably the best shot, but most of the big favorites I see some from the South. The past three winners (Candica Glover, Phillip Phillips and Scotty McCreery) were from South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina respectively.)

We've gone through the explanations before but it's clearly a combination of many factors. It's that small-town charm. It's the lack of other opportunities in said small towns. It's the church background which enabled many to sing from their earliest years. It's the show's popularity in the South among voters.


Another blogger pointed out notable auditioners who disappeared either before Hollywood Week or during Hollywood Week including the dude who sang while Harry Connick Jr. cradled him in his arms.


Justin Guarini admitted he dated Kelly Clarkson while they filmed that awful movie. When Kelly's career took off and Justin's didn't, that kind of put the kibosh on the relationship, he told an audience during a one-man show in New Hope, Pa.


In a surprising lawsuit, 19 Recordings is suing Sony primarily over streaming royalties for its artists.

Hollywood Reporter broke the story.

In the lawsuit, 19, and by extension all of the artists -- including Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry -- who have entered into deals as part of their participation on Idol, claim that Sony Music has been systematically robbing them of millions of dollars in royalties. The lawsuit, seeking at least $10 million in damages, was filed after 19 exercised the right to audit Sony's books pursuant to recording agreements, and the parties couldn't come to any settlement.

The details are over how Sony defined streaming. They considered them "sales," which gave artists far less money than if they were considered "broadcast" or "transmissions." This is all semantics.

The rest of it involves different interpretations of ad buys and deductions.


The Olympics are pummeling "Idol" in the ratings, by a two-to-one margin. On Tuesday, the Olympics drew about 18.93 million viewers. "Idol"? Down to 9.73 million. Wednesday night was not any better: Olympics at 20.2 million and "Idol" at 9.95 million. The 18-49 ratings were the same both nights, a 5 share for the Olympics and a 2.6 share for "Idol." The Olympics helped shave "Idol" numbers by more than 1 million viewers from a week earlier and by 15 percent among 18-49 year olds.

Fox can only hope once the shows go live with the top 13 next week, the numbers will at least bounce back to over 11 million and a 3 share 18-49.

It's quite a tumble for the former No. 1 show. Among 18-49 year olds,' The Walking Dead" draws TRIPLE the number of overnight viewers.

Up against both "Big Bang Theory" (and it was a repeat!) and the Winter Olympics, "Idol" came in a tepid third last night for the results show with its worst ratings in its history. Early numbers: 9.2 million viewers and a mere 2.4 18-49 share. "The Big Bang Theory" repeat drew 10.06 million and a 2.6 18-49 share. The Olympics: 19.93 million and a 4.9 18-49 share.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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